- Ventral striatum is related to within-subject learning performance
- The Journal of Neuroscience
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Learning from feedback involves a network of various cortical and subcortical regions. Although activation in this network has been shown to be especially strong in successful learners, it is currently unclear which of these regions are related to within-subject variation in learning performance. To this aim, 21 subjects performed a probabilistic feedback-learning task consisting of multiple independent Learning blocks and non-learning Control blocks, while functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired. In agreement with previous studies, activation in anterior, lateral and medial left prefrontal cortex, insula and superior and inferior parietal cortical regions were found when contrasting Learning and Control blocks. Furthermore, activation in the supplementary motor area, anterior cingulate cortex and bilateral striatum was associated specifically with the learning phase and not the application phase during Learning blocks. Finally, activation only in the ventral striatum was associated with within-subject learning performance across the Learning blocks. Taken together, these latter two results are argued to provide the answer to the main research question: ventral striatum activation is associated with within-subject variations in learning performance. The ventral striatum appears to play a vital role in learning by adjusting behavior based on feedback.
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